Earlier I spent too much time looking for the spot below. It's a beech tree right on the Czech-Austrian border (note marker in background) where border soldiers used to carve the number of days' service remaining before they could go home. Later I came to the only place in the Czech Republic where the iron curtain has been officially preserved, at Čížov in the Podyjí national park. But I came away from it a little disillusioned: it's a sterile monument, not as interesting as the unofficial remnants elsewhere (as I suspected at the time, the dilapidated tower pictured a few posts ago has proved the best find of the Czech section of the curtain). And in any case I have plenty of rusting barbed wire shots. I reflected that I hadn't talked to locals for a while and knew this was because I was concentrating on making distances. So I was glad, then, that a couple of villages later I met a couple of likely old lads by the roadside who had some interesting things to say. One of them was separated from his father in Ireland for nearly 20 years by the Iron Curtain: every year he applied for permission to go and visit, every year he was refused, until 1988, the year before the fences came down.
OK, I've another long day ahead, I must go. The people who run the software for this blog seem to be having technical difficulties, so I don't know how often I'll be able to update from now on.